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For the last few weekends, while the large proportion of the population has been indulging in holiday treats, I’ve been fasting on watermelons! On reflection I realized that this has kind of become my own holiday tradition by default.
My husband and I don’t celebrate calendar events, being very much non-traditionalists when it comes to this. So since there are no customary dinners or other social eating occasions, and no emphasis is given to these celebrations, we are free to be spontaneous at this time of year.
Watermelon fasting is a gentle way to detox and a method of cleansing the body that I have very much come to appreciate. I first undertook a watermelon cleanse about ten years ago. But since living in the tropics watermelon fasts have become a fairly regular occurrence for me because of the availability and low cost of watermelon, as well as the warm weather, which is really conducive to eating fruit. And watermelon, being the most cooling of fruits, is simply perfect in a tropical climate, such as here in Costa Rica.
If you are new to eating raw or detox diets, a one-day watermelon fast is a wonderful introduction to the healing and cleansing power of raw food. If you like you can extend it up to three days but it is generally not recommended to go any longer than this, unless under supervision.
Personally I find a weekend cleanse to be perfect! Firstly, the weekend is a great time to cleanse because for most of us there are no work obligations, so it is possible to rest and recuperate. I also like to take the weekend watermelon fast as an opportunity to have a break from preparing meals, which can sometimes take quite a lot of energy, as I am sure many of you will understand.
There are several ways to do a watermelon fast.
1) Eat watermelon
This is my absolute favorite way to do a cleanse on watermelon. Simply slice or cube your watermelon and consume it whenever you are hungry. Watermelon is so easy to eat and simply refreshing!
For me personally, I find that one fairly large watermelon is enough for one day of watermelon fasting. I’m not sure exactly what size our watermelons are but I estimate they are usually around ten pounds.
I eat about a quarter of a watermelon for a meal and have about three or four meals of watermelon each day, depending on my appetite. Since watermelon is so low in calories and about 92 percent water, you can eat as much as you like, as long as you are not feeling over-full. My husband is about twice my size so he has twice as much watermelon as I do, so adjust your intake according to your needs.
I prefer not to place the watermelon in the fridge because it is much easier on the stomach when at room temperature. So I prepare the amount I will use at each meal and plan to consume the whole melon before the end of the day. If there is any leftover I will refrigerate it and use it for smoothies during the week.
2) Watermelon juice
You can also put your watermelon through a juicer to create a refreshing juice. One advantage of this method is that you can include the rind, so long as you can find a source of organic watermelon.
Watermelon rind contains a higher concentration of minerals and helps to balance the sweetness from the watermelon flesh. The rind also has more of the amino acid citrulline, which scientists believe is the main ingredient responsible for watermelon’s Viagra-like effects.
3) Watermelon smoothies
You can also blend chopped watermelon to create a blended juice. Because watermelon is so high in liquid there is no need to strain your juice. Simply fill up your blender with watermelon, blend until smooth and enjoy!
In this method, you can also include the seeds, which have an added bonus of helping to cleanse the colon, due to their high fiber content. Watermelon seeds are also a very rich source of zinc.
4) Gourmet watermelon cleanse
If you find the idea of simply eating watermelon and drinking the juice a bit too boring, you can experiment with different watermelon recipes. This may reduce the intensity of the cleanse slightly due to the addition of extra ingredients, but you will still get good results.
Why not try blending watermelon with fresh mint and a squeeze of lime to make a watermelon mojito? Or start with a base of watermelon, adding a mixture of diced tropical fruits and/or vegetables, such as mango, cucumber, tomato, cilantro, and chili to make watermelon gazpacho.
You might even consider a watermelon salad with other ingredients such as arugula and avocado. But for the best cleansing results you will want to stick with just fruits, vegetables, and fresh herbs.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
One of the primary health benefits of watermelon is that it improves the function of the kidneys and it has a history of use for the treatment of kidney stones and urinary tract infections. This is not only due to its very high percentage of water but also because watermelon is a mild diuretic (promotes urine flow). Another good reason to do a watermelon fast on the weekend is that you will need very frequent trips to the bathroom!
Another advantage of eating watermelon or doing a watermelon fast that will be of particular interest to male readers is that it contains citrulline, which stimulates nitric oxide, relaxing and expanding blood vessels in a similar way to the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. It may also have a libido-enhancing effect. In addition, citrulline improves cardiovascular function, helping to maintain blood flow within the heart.
Watermelon also has the highest concentration of lycopene – an important antioxidant – than any other fruit or vegetable, including tomatoes. Two cups of watermelon contains 18mg of lycopene, whereas a medium tomato contains only 4mg. A high intake of lycopene is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, as well as protection from breast and prostate cancer.
Is Watermelon Fasting For You?
Most healthy adults can safely undertake a one or two-day watermelon fast, however, there are a few situations where watermelon fasting is not advisable.
Check with your primary health care provider before undertaking a cleanse on watermelon if you have a history of kidney disease, liver disease, and cardiovascular conditions. It is also not recommended to do a watermelon fast if you are diabetic, hypoglycemic, or have glaucoma, optic nerve disorders, detached retina, or other serious eye problems.
Detox symptoms such as headaches and fatigue are common when undertaking a watermelon fast, especially for those who are new to cleansing and detox diets. Discontinue the fast at any time if these symptoms become too uncomfortable.
A watermelon fast can be a great way to get started with a healthy eating plan because it resets your appetite, eliminating cravings for unhealthy foods. But it is also possible to have too much of a good thing.
I like to do watermelon fasts occasionally, maybe once a month, or sometimes for several weeks in a row, but it is important to be aware that too much watermelon, in those who are sensitive, might place an excessive strain on the kidneys and digestive system.
You don’t need to do a watermelon fast every weekend but they can be very beneficial to increase your motivation at the beginning of a new healthy eating plan or to promote a feeling of lightness and support detoxification after a period of indulgence.
If you are looking for a way to get back on track after the holidays a watermelon fast may be the ideal way to go. Just remember to introduce other foods gradually, starting with other fruits and then smoothies and simple salads, keeping in mind that your goal is to create a diet that you can happily follow as a lifestyle approach to healthy eating.
I love watermelon.
Why do you say this fast is NOT good 4 those w/glaucoma?
Also interested in this question!
Apparently large amounts of watermelon can increase the intraocular pressure so it is contraindicated for glaucoma.
Does it make a difference if i use seedless?
Seedless watermelon has a higher glycemic index, so seeded would be preferable if you can find them. If you can only get seedless though, it would still be beneficial.
I can’t stand seeded it takes me longer to take out the seeds then it does to eat the thing! I love watermelon though and have had great results doing 1 day watermelon fasts!
cool stuff im 16 and im going to try it i like watermelon
I’m not diabetic or pre-diabetic, but I like to check my blood sugar readings periodically through the day just to keep informed of reactions to what I consume. Generally is stay low glycemic. After the first big slice of watermelon my reading went up to the highest I’ve ever seen –157, right after eating it. I plan a three day fast and only feel a bit nervous about the blood sugar reading. Should I worry about that if it’s only up for these three days?
This is an indication that you need to work on your blood glucose balance so you may look into consulting with a health professional who can recommend herbal treatments for the pancreas.
In general the longer you are on a low fat diet the more balanced blood glucose becomes. Many people have achieved normalization of high blood sugar levels after 30 days on a low fat raw vegan diet consisting primarily of fruits.
To Bambi Po, the person who thinks she is NOT Diabetic nor pre-diabetic, stop sucking on the nitrous oxide! You are hallucinating. ANYONE with a blood glucose reading of 157 even if it is post-prandial (after-eating) should not ever register that high. Your pancreas is not doing the job and you must see a doctor fast. I am a Type-1 Diabetic (Insulin dependent)for over 30yrs and have never heard of a non-diabetic checking their blood glucose like you claim to. There is more to your story methinks. Anyway, I think down deep you know the truth and should not be eating watermelon nor any food that will spike your blood sugar because you are in denial and are not under any type of management for your high blood glucose. Hyperglycemia is what defines Diabetes, Were your insulin producing cells working efficiently you would never reach 157 mg/dl on the blood glucose monitor. Get yourself tested and get under the care of an Endocrinologist who specializes in Diabetic care. It is possible you are in a “Honeymoon” phase and quick action now could save you further heartache down the line. Good luck!
Wow, that was quite the aggressive comment…
NOT TRUE! A blood sugar reading of 157 after a slice of watermelon is normal. A true reading is before you eat.
Sorry your information is incorrect. I am an RN working with diabetics for years.
On a similar note,, So I’m fasting for the month of Ramadan and I was just wondering if I ate too much today:
5am. 2 cabbage rice wraps —–> 150 cal.
yogurt —————————> 50 cal.
8pm. 10 shrimps broiled ———-> 120 cal.
tabouli —————————> 150 cal.
2 cactus pear ——————> 80 cal.
watermelon ———————-> 150 cal.
TOTAL= 700 cal.
*keep in mind that this summer I was only eating 600 cal. so when I fast I eat 100 more. So in a month time will I gain back the weight? Also I’m 5’9 145 pounds (eww). Lastly, I don’t really exersise much exept twice a week on weekends because I have NO energy during the day*
Also, since I’m eating at night will it get stored as fat? 🙁
I am doing a juice cleanse right now and the evenings are the hardest. I think I will add the watermelon as the last meal of the day. I love it and since it is mostly water, I don’t think it will sabatage my cleanse.
Thanks for the info!
Watermelon smoothies are my FAVORITE =) Great article. Thanks for sharing.
I love WM too but it makes my forehead itch for some reason. I ate 8 pounds of it both this morning and yesterday morning = 16 lbs .
Wow, I just knew that the watermelon is the best detox for other fruits and vegetable. Thanks for this wonderful article. I love reading it.
Glad you enjoyed it!
Love your blog post. Been on Dr Morse fruitarian diet and seeing all symtpoms reversing, but—oh-my-freaking gaga—two days on watermelon is pushing infection right out of my gums. Inflammation and gut bloat reducing, feel so much stronger. I personally owuld not mix blueberries in my watermelon fruit due to food combining preferences. I blended watermelon with the rind and it was amazing. I do that rarely because it oxidises the fruit, but oh, flipdog, wowza, it is so good that way! Ty.
Yes, the watermelon sure is powerful! If you are concerned about oxidation with blending you might be interested in getting a vacuum blender. They minimize exposure to air and significantly preserve nutritional intake.
Thank you, Mispah Matus, for the vacuum blender suggestion. I am moving Internationally in two months or so yet will keep that in mind for the future. Took some fresh tumeric root (about the size of a finger) and blended it with water in magic bullet and it reduced the pain from watermelon cleansing pushing out acidosis.